Familiar story as battling Holt come up just short

Aaron Cole on the charge for Holt against Romford and Gidea Park. Picture: STUART YOUNG

Aaron Cole on the charge for Holt against Romford and Gidea Park. Picture: STUART YOUNG - Credit: Archant

Holt produced a much improved all-round performance, but it was not enough to subdue a strong visiting side.

With the hosts opting to play an open game it was essential that they secured good ball and their pack duly delivered. All eight forwards and their substitutes put in good performances and second row Oli Denton was named Woodfordes man of the match.

When penalties were awarded, Holt, in the main, kept the ball in hand, with half-backs Bruce van Poortvliet and Alastair Hughes working tirelessly to test the Romford defence, but they found it difficult to escape from the visitors' impressive back row.

The visitors opened the scoring with a Mitchell Smith penalty, but Holt continued to press, with their scrum looking secure and the accurate throwing-in of Tim Allen enabling them to secure clean ball.

The versatile Allen, playing at wing-forward, was on hand when the Holt three-quarter line spread the ball wide and his support play enabled him to release to second row Robbie Gray who showed his pace with a 20-metre sprint to the line. The conversion attempt failed, but Holt were now in the lead.

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Holt continued to test the Romford defence but all too often the final pass went astray when the visitors' line was begging. With half-time approaching and, against the run of play, Romford's centre Jake Jones found a gap and scampered over the line for a try to make the half-time score 5-8.

Romford came more into the game in the second half and were rewarded when their impressive wing-forward Ian Semain slipped through the Holt defence to put away scrum-half Barnabus Savill, who touched down for a try converted by Darrell Braiden to increase ther lead to 5-15.

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To their credit Holt responded to this setback with some positive play which tested the Romford defence to its limits. Following a period of pressure the ball was spun wide to inside centre Hal Riley who showed his pace to glide through for a much-deserved try, which was not converted.

With the clock running down Holt threw everything at their visitors who denied them any further points by cleverly maintaining possession.

Holt remain deep in trouble in second from bottom position, although they did close the gap on Ipswich above them to 11 points.

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